THE WEEKLY BLAB
Volume 9, Issue 34– April 27, 2015
After Inauguration Week’s many activities, you’d think that things might wind down a bit, but that didn’t prove to be the case. The Monday and Tuesday after inauguration were filled with meetings that had accumulated since we couldn’t do them the previous week.
Among these was the first Strategic Planning Meeting, ably chaired by Liz Erickson. Our first task in the strategic planning process is to review where we are relative to the major outcomes identified in the current plan. Liz divided our rather large group into subcommittees, each being tasked to look at one of the outcomes, detail what has been accomplished (gathering any documents that may exist about it), what’s left to do, let us know if the outcome is still valid for us, and suggest metrics for how it may be measured in the future. Please be aware that someone on a subcommittee may contact you for information in the future if you’ve been involved in one of the outcome issues. We’ll be reviewing the results at our next meeting, and then moving ahead to establish tactics for accomplishing our remaining goals. We’ll report on our progress periodically.
On Tuesday, several folks from campus met with representatives from the St. Lawrence County BOCES program. About 45% of the students in the county take at least one course at the BOCES technology centers, and their programs line up very nicely with ours. Our goal is for their students to become even more familiar with our college, and we want to set up the smoothest possible transition process so that their graduates can matriculate into our degree programs. The meeting went very well, and we established some of the things we need to do to make this smooth transition process a reality.
Trip to DC
On Wednesday, Lenore VanderZee (our Executive Director for University Relations) and I flew down to Washington DC for SUNY Day. The flight out of Watertown to Philadelphia left at 7:30, which meant that we had to leave Canton at 5:30 AM. Yech! After a short layover, the connecting flight to DC took off on time, and we were in DC a little before noon. The rooms at the Hampton Inn weren’t ready yet, so we had lunch in a nearby Mediterranean restaurant. By the time we finished, the rooms were ready, so we checked in and headed off to the first meetings, which were in the Rayburn Office Building. As we were walking there, we passed by the Mall behind the Capitol Building, and were wondering why there were a lot of people looking at something (we had no idea what) across the reflecting pool. We moved a little to the left to go around a group of people and passed in front of a huge bank of cameras and microphones, which was a bit disconcerting since they weren’t for us—I kept expecting President Obama or some other major official to show up at any second. The Capitol Police were everywhere, and we later found out that someone had flown a one-man helicopter onto the Mall, thereby calling all the security forces into alert.
We got to the meeting just in time and had a chance to meet some of our New York congressmen, as well as a group of SUNY students doing political internships in DC. The Chancellor had asked several presidents to speak about how their campuses do applied learning and how this leads to student success. I got to represent the Colleges of Technology, which was an easy and pleasant job, since applied learning is in our bones—we’ve been doing it since our founding in1906.
That evening, SUNY had a large reception at the Newseum (a cool place—worth a visit if you’re in DC), where several of the colleges (including us) had tables set up showcasing what we do. Several other congressmen and their aides came to the reception including Charles Rangel. We met lots of folks there, and the reception ended at about 8:00. We then joined President Esterberg and another colleague from SUNY Potsdam, and went out to dinner at a very nice Indian restaurant.
Thursday morning, it was back to the Newseum for breakfast and several presentations from the Chancellor.
Chancellor Nancy Zimpher
Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer both came by to address our group.
Senator Charles Schumer
I had to break away from the meeting at one point to walk back over to the Rayburn Office Building, because I had a meeting with our own congresswoman, Elise Stefanik. The meeting went very well, and I was really impressed with Congresswoman Stefanik’s excellent memory—she remembered when she and I first met, last fall before she was elected in November. Since then, she visited our campus and saw several of our programs and their facilities last January. Unfortunately, I was in Florida at the time visiting alumni. I invited her to come back and visit us again, and to speak to our students, which she agreed to do next fall.
Walking back to the Newseum, there were large crowds in the street as well as various marching contingents for Emancipation Day, a unique DC holiday celebrating when the slaves in the capitol were all purchased from their owners and set free.
There were a few more presentations and discussions, and we then walked over to another office building to have a more individual campus visit with the Senators’ staffs. Dinner that evening was at a very nice Thai restaurant. The next morning, we left at 5:30 AM to go to Reagan International Airport to catch the 7:20 AM flight to Philadelphia, and after an almost 2 hour layover, got on to the connecting flight to Watertown. We got back to campus at about 3:00 PM, when I hustled to get last week’s issue of the BLAB out before the weekend.
The Amazing Chemistry Race
On Saturday, I had the pleasure of giving a talk at The Amazing Chemistry Race, an event for students from the Northern New York section of the American Chemical Society. The event was coordinated by our own Nicole Heldt, ably assisted by Rajiv Narula and a group of volunteers. Events included two rounds of Chemistry Jeopardy, one for several high school teams, and one for teams from SUNY Canton, Potsdam, and Plattsburg (we came in 2nd, with Potsdam repeating last year’s win). I then gave my talk, entitled “History of Chemistry—37,000 Years in 45 Minutes”, which was a lot of fun. The students then broke into teams for the race, which consisted of going to several locations on campus to do various chemistry tasks. My congratulations to Nicole and all other organizers for a job well done!
Holocaust Remembrance Day
On Sunday morning, April 19, my father (who is an Auschwitz survivor) went to the synagogue in Potsdam to talk to the students in their Hebrew School about his experiences during the Holocaust. He’ll be speaking to students at the Middle School on May 6 as well. That afternoon, we all went back to the synagogue for a remembrance service and to hear Eva Kuper, a Holocaust survivor who was saved as a little girl at the last possible second from being sent to the Treblinka Death Camp, and hidden through the war by a nun at a home for blind children. After the war, she was able to reunite with her father and moved to Canada in 1948. Through a series of coincidences, she was able to find out the nun’s name (Sister Klara Jaroszynska) and reunite with her in 2005 on a visit to Poland. A movie “Three Miracles, One Hope: Eva Kuper’s Holocaust Story” was made about her life. You can read a bit more about her here in a story that appeared in the Watertown Daily Times. She was a fascinating speaker and it was a privilege to meet her.
One of my favorite events of the year is when we can recognize the students who have reached a bit higher and farther, winning various honors awards. Our annual Honors Convocation was held on Wednesday, April 22, and it was just great. This year’s convocation was named for Rosanna Moser, a retired faculty member who began teaching at SUNY Canton in 1983 in the Secretarial Studies program, which later became the Office Technology program. She helped develop new courses in Computer Information Systems, served as Business Department Chair, and organized Professional Development Week at the college. She received the College Council’s Distinguished Faculty Award in 2007. It was a pleasure to meet Rosanna and talk to her during the Honors Luncheon. The award ceremony was held in the afternoon, and it was great to recognize and shake hands with all the student winners.
SUNY Canton Shout-Outs
We’ve had a number of great athletic results lately. First off, our baseball and softball teams had a pair of no-hitters in back-to-back games on March 28th and 29th. Our pitchers were Derek Harkin and Kelsey Morgan, respectively. Harkin was recognized as the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) Honorable Mention National Pitcher of the Week, while Morgan was honored as both the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Pitcher of the Week, as well as the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) Pitcher of the Week.
Several other student-athletes also recently received awards for their achievements on the diamond as well. These include:
- Seth Douglas Empire 8 Player of the Week STORY
- Shannon Dowling ECAC Upstate Player of the Week STORY
- Kaitlyn Tibbetts ECAC Upstate Rookie of the Week STORY
- Kelsey Morgan ECAC Upstate Pitcher of the Week STORY
- Kelsey Morgan USCAA Pitcher of the Week STORY
- Derek Harkin NCBWA Honorable Mention National Pitcher of the Week STORY
Speaking of baseball, a SUNY Canton alum recently signed a professional baseball contract. Gerardo Torres, a 2013 graduate of Canton and two-year member of the baseball team, recently signed a contract with the Grays Harbor Gulls of the Mount Rainier Professional Baseball League (MRPBL). You can read the story here.
During Inauguration Week, our student-athletes also celebrated Division III Week, which celebrates the impact of athletics and of student-athletes on the campus and surrounding community. During the week, every Division III school and conference office is encouraged to conduct a type of outreach activity that falls into one of three categories: academic accomplishment; athletic experience; or leadership/community service/campus involvement.
Congratulations to all our student athletes and their coaches for their fine achievements!
Funeral Services Administration
While in DC at the SUNY reception, I ran into Peter Brusoe, who told me about one of our alums, Peter J. Rose (’04), who lives in Canajoharie and has been a licensed Funeral Director since 2005. He is a member of Our Lady of Hope Roman Catholic Church, where he serves on the Pastoral Council; a member of the Mass Fatalities Taskforce of Montgomery County and the National Funeral Directors Association; a member of the New York State Funeral Directors Association, serving on the Continuing Education & Convention Committee, and a 2014 Graduate of the Leadership Academy. Recently, he’s started an essay contest to help local youth is a great ambassador for our Funeral Services Administration program. Congratulations, Peter!
Jerry Bartlett, SUNY Canton’s Learning Systems Manager, traveled to Ohio on April 17 to compete in Green Grand Prix, a competition aimed at promoting a cleaner environment. The race, which has been held for 11 years now, is sponsored by Toyota and is sanctioned by the Sports Car Club of America. Jerry entered the race for the first time last year. How did he do? He won it on his debut, chalking up an impressive 217 mpg. How did he do this year? He beat his own record, of course, winning again with 250 mpg. You can read more about it here. Congratulations Jerry, and let us all know your secret!
Me, Jerry Bartlett, and Molly Mott, with Jerry’s cake and award
Law Enforcement Day
On April 20, the Criminal Justice Department chose “Emerging Issues in Homeland Security” as the theme for its 5th Annual Law Enforcement Day. The keynote address was made by Cynthia Storer, a member of the sisterhood of CIA intelligence analysts whose work led to locating Osama bin Laden in a safe house in Pakistan, and whose work with the CIA was featured in the HBO documentary “Manhunt: The Search for bin Laden.” Other activities included presentations by Elson Irizarry (Coast Guard Investigative Service), Curt Tennant (U.S. Customs and Border Protection), and Tim Losito (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement). Congratulations to Paul Bowdre and Lisa Colbert, who did an outstanding job of organizing this year’s event, and to Will Fassinger as the event photographer.
Tim Losito, (ICE), Cynthia Storer (former CIA Analyst), and Elson Irizarry (U.S. Coast Guard)
Last Week’s Trivia Contest
Last week’s trivia contest dealt with dogs and cats. Our winner was Alan Gabrielli, a faculty member from SPSU. Others getting all five right included Brett Furnia and Robin Gittings. Here are the correct answers:
- Seuss classic about trouble at Sally and her brother’s house, first published in 1957. The Cat in the Hat.
- Song by Baha Men, it won the Grammy in 2001 for Best Dance Recording. Who Let the Dogs Out.
- A particularly stealthy thief, especially one that gains entry undetected. Cat Burglar.
- Rock band named for what indigenous Australians do on freezing cold nights. Songs include Eli’s Coming, Mama Told Me (Not to Come), and Joy to the World. Three Dog Night.
- 1965 comedy western starring Jane Fonda and Lee Marvin. Cat Ballou.
This Week’s Trivia Challenge
Staying with the animal theme, this week’s challenge deals with elephants. As usual, the first with the most takes the prize. No looking up the answers now! SEND ALL ENTRIES BY EMAIL TO firstname.lastname@example.org since if you put them as a response on the BLOG, everyone will be able to see them!
- What an elephant never does.
- Famous French elephant in children’s stories—he first appeared in 1931 in a book by Jean de Brunhoff.
- Military commander of Carthage, he led an army including elephants from Iberia over the Alps into Italy during the Second Punic War
- In the Beatles song, “He went out tiger hunting with his elephant and gun”.
Inauguration Trivia Contest
When speaking at my inauguration, Liz Erikson challenged the audience to her own version of the BLAB’s Trivia Contest, with the questions all dealing with the word “president”. Our winner, with 4 out of 5 correct, was Patti Todd. Congratulations Patti! Here are the five answers:
- The American President
- United States Marine Band (‘The President¹s Own’)
- All the President¹s Men
- Happy Birthday, Mr. President
- Dead Presidents